Foundation Face-Off

Tom Ford Beauty Flawless Complexion model shotIt’s a bumper season for foundations with a trio of new additions landing on my desk all at more or less the same time. But, oh, what different results when they’re tested. The gold medal winner, by a mile, is Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation SPF15 (£62; worn on the model pictured), a beautiful creamy base which provides great coverage and longwear but has a completely natural finish. It contains Tom Ford Infusing Complex, a skincare element, which boosts the quality of the skin at the same time. It comes in 15 shades, and is part of a new range of Flawless Perfection concealers and foundation within the
Tom Ford Beauty collection.

I’ve taken to applying the Traceless Perfecting Foundation with my fab new brush – the Estee Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush (£37). A strange-looking Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeupbrush with bristles of different lengths, it has been designed to be able to access the trickier areas of the face. It’s a delight to use and gives a lovely finish. It was launched at the same time as my silver medallist foundation for this autumn – Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup SPF25 (£37), another liquid foundation which feels lovely and boasts skincare benefits, notably anti-ageing (from the Perfectionist Serum) and hydration. I found that on my shine-prone combination skin, I need to wear powder on top; this is probably one for older and drier skins than mine. It’s available in an impressive 22 shades.

And the prize for most disappointing new foundation goes to Clarins True Radiance SPF15 (£27) – another base with skincare qualities – which I found to be thick, heavy and wholly unnatural-looking.


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Va-Va Volume

Big hair - older Deneuve b & wFor the second autumn-winter in a row, I feel drawn to the look of the mighty and magnifique Catherine Deneuve – at least as far as my hair’s concerned. (Deneuve plus the big-hairedmodel in the Elnett ads!) This grande dame of French cinema has sported some fantastic hair-do’s over the decades but her distinctive style – voluminous blonde hair, worn off her face whether it’s pinned up or hanging loose – has remained constant and has just been subtly tweaked  over the decades to reflect fashions, and to flatter her as she has grown older.

Creating volume can be a challenge – I’ve found it more difficult since I ditched the blonde highlights and opted for the gentler blonde tint. My hair is Ojon Volume Advance moussehealthier and shinier – but, unfortunately, the flip side is that it’s also floppier. And that’s where my latest favourite hair styling product comes in. Ojon Volume Advance Volumizing Mousse (£23; is – for me – the stand-out in the recently launched collection of volumising products from the American haircare company. And I have actually found that it’s more effective when I haven’t used the shampoo (£18.50) and conditioner (£20.50) from the same range; a range which its creators describe – rather appealingly, for those of us with naturally limp locks – as being “like a mega-phone for the hair”.

However, different hair might benefit from a different combination of products from Ojon’s Volume Advance range which also includes a Thickening Spray (£20.50). And in case you need any further French inspiration, here is a selection of shots of la belle Deneuve from different stages in her life. Big hair - Deneuve Belle de Jour

Big hair - Deneuve 1960s

Big hair - Deneuve updo

Big hair - Deneuve recent

Big hair - Deneuve recent, laughing


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Mirror, Mirror

I’m currently reading a biography of movie star Barbara Stanwyck. She was not the most beautiful of stars but she certainly exuded sex appeal and knew how to get a guy – a trait she shared with one of her most memorable characters, the eponymous heroine in the glorious 1941 comedy The Lady Eve. I’ll be writing a Style on Film soon about this movie, the first in which Stanwyck wore high fashion, but in the meantime, here’s a wonderful clip which shows why a single gal should never be without a mini mirror … 


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(She Wore) Purple Velvet

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid model shotYou’ve got to hand it to Tom Ford: he creates the most beautiful perfumes, bestows the most gorgeous names on them, and presents them in the most sensual bottles…. His latest creation, Velvet Orchid (in stores from September), is no exception – though I have to say, I don’t care for the advertising image that accompanies it (above).  I didn’t know Tom Ford had a line in wrapping paper …

Still, you buy perfume for the scent don’t you? And this one is an especially voluptuous, creamy heady and feminine scent which, says Ford, takes the DNA of the original black orchid flower into new territory. The woods and spices of the original fragrance fade into the background behind an ultra-feminine floral veil.

Fresh top notes of Italian bergamot and mandarin orpur are offset by the sweetness and warmth of honey and vanilla, while the floral heart fuses everything from jasmine and rose to Tom Ford’s signature Black Orchid accord. The woody, fleshy base of the fragrance is intensely rich, warm and sensual. This is a head-turning fragrance for confident or confidence-seeking women..

Prices for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid eau de parfum start at £72 for 1.7oz.

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Cheek Chic

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour BalmMeet my new best friends… They put a smile on my face (well, you need to smile to find the apple of your cheek) and a glow on my complexion .. Clinique Chubby Stick Cheeky Colour Balms (£19 each) are this season’s must-try new blusher.

I’m already a convert thanks to the ease of use, the nourishing, creamy feel on my currently dehydrated checks, and the fab range of colours. I’m currently sporting the rosy pink Amp’d Up Apple shade, but more corally Robust Rhubarb might get an outing this weekend ..

* Available now at and stores nationwide.

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The Art of Looking Polished

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineThere’s something very attractive about the polished look that you seem to find most often on the streets of Paris, New York and London. Simple, usually nude make-up (with the occasional slash of bright lip colour), unfussy clothing and accessories and an air of being on trend but not slavishly under its spell. It’s not a look that comes easily, or naturally, to everyone (though the luminous Cate Blanchett certainly worked it in Blue Jasmine, above) but there’s one simple step that can set you on the path to polished-dom: great skin. And great skin starts with thoroughly cleansed skin, as Clinique’s guiding dermatologists Dr David and Dr Catherine Orentreich, always advise their patients. They say: “Skin that is cleansed well, gently yet thoroughly, is better prepped and primed for whatever treatment products are applied after.”

It makes perfect sense, then, that Clinique has now launched a cleansing brush – to ensure the most thoroughly cleansed, healthiest skin.  Its Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush (£79) is not the first cleansing brush on the market, but it’s the first I’ve tried which was created by a skincare company – and that Clinique Sonic System Purifying CLeansing Brushcounts for a lot. As Clinique’s boffins point out, the most effective brush is only as effective as the cleanser it’s used with – so producing your own brush to go with your own cleansers (Clinique designed this one to be used with its 3-Step Facial Soaps) is the logical way to go.

The brush is oval-shaped and designed with two lengths of bristles to tackle different areas of the face, and to ensure that even the tricky-to-reach, and easily clogged, area around the nose gets attention. Lightweight and waterproof (so you can use it in the shower), the brush is gentle enough to be used twice a day for 30 seconds at a time (the self timer automatically turns it off after 30 seconds, the appropriate amount of usage time for most skin types).

* Available exclusively from John Lewis stores and online at now, and nationwide from August 29.


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The Holy Hair Grail

Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Rich Cleansing ConditionweThis summer, only your purse stands between you and perfectly glossy, sleek, healthy hair? Why, because Ojon has just launched a wonderful new elixir for the hair, Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner (£18.50; – and it really is the biz for anyone with damaged hair, breakage-prone hair or hair that is difficult to detangle when washing. I fall into that last category, especially since I began using dry shampoos and back-combing to beef up my fine, floppy hair for styling purposes…

A unique blend of oils known for their healing, conditioning, softening and reparative properties, the cleansing conditioner is designed to be generously applied from root to tip either by hand or with a wide-toothed comb, left to penetrate the hair for one to two minutes, then rinsed off. If you have dense hair that is prone to excessive drying, it could be used every day or every second day, and it’s gentle enough to be usable on normal hair two or three times a week or on alternate days.

It’s available online now, from the Ojon website or from Boots stores from August.


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